Are you jumping with excitement? I basically can’t stop staring at my new baby - the HP LaserJet M452DW ! It’s my first ever LASER printer, and is already WOW-ing me on the daily (as well as confusing me on the hourly). I have promised y’all some more information, and you know I love to share about new tools for stationery designers, so buckle up, there’s a lot of info coming at ya!Read More
There’s a lot of information out there about when you should mail your wedding invitations, Save the Dates, rehearsal dinner invites, etc. so we’re here to set everything straight. As we always say, we’ll give you “rules” but things are always up to you and your specific situation. There’s only one rule you shouldn’t break - don’t do anything only because you’re “supposed to” or your mom tells you to. Do it because it makes sense for you and your fiancé and with your personal situation!Read More
Ever been to a wedding and not been able to figure out where to go? Not been able to read the menu? Waited a liiiittle too long on the bride to get down the aisle? These are all problems that your wedding day stationery can actually help solve - if you know how to use it the right way. I’m obviously a little biased, but there are some practical ways to use the stationery so that it’s not only beautiful, but also functional. And with everything - there are some definite no-nos you’ll want to avoid.Read More
Honestly, just some dusty blue, burgundy, and vintage car wedding goodness with a dream team of vendors (all listed at the bottom!). This wedding featured some lovely details and some of our favorite dusty blue menus ever. Plus, if either of you are a car fanatic - you’ll want to get a look at this vintage beauty.Read More
How do you create so much content? This is a popular question lately, as we’ve got our Instagram, Facebook, Resources, YouTube Channel, Email Lists, Pinterest, Stories, Website, Skillshare classes, and of course this blog, with new posts every Monday. You’re right - it’s a LOT, and sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about it. But of course I’ve got a few tips for you today on how to go about creating and scheduling your content!Read More
Hey hi hello, boss ladies and boss gents! I’ve been working from home for 7 years (WHAT) and there are a lot of pros and cons, but the main difference between working in an office and working at home is that you have complete control over your entiiiire life. This is where some of us thrive, but it’s also where some of us crash and burn, so as always, be honest with yourself about what is and is not working to propel you toward your goals. Luckily, we’ve got 9 tips and tricks to help you work from home like a total boss.Read More
Today, we’re going to help you answer the dreaded question that you probably get way too often - Can I get a discount?! Whether they’re looking for friends and family, military, or you know, those really nice “we spent too much on our venue but we reeeeally love your work” discounts, we’ll help you fight back that automatic *eyeroll* response and answer professionally and logically, without getting emotional!Read More
We alllll make mistakes when we’re starting out on the entrepreneur journey. If you didn’t make any yet, then you’re probably not taking enough risks - mistakes are just part of the deal, and believe me, I tested and tried out a whole lot of them, just for funsies! Some mistakes are learning experiences, but there are a few mistakes that will cost you dearly down the line, so to save you from making those, I’ve compiled 9 things you should definitely NOT do when you start your business.
This applies at the beginning, but also always. Don’t do shady things like lying to your customers, buying Instagram followers, or basically anything else that you may feel uncomfortable telling your grandma you did!
Look for Loopholes or Shortcuts
In the same vein, try not to avoid things you don’t want to do, even if you feel like you’re getting away with it. Working in cash so you don’t have to report it on your taxes, accepting payments via PayPal Friends + Family to avoid credit card processing fees, and other loopholes like this can come back to bite you in the butt. Accept that things cost money and take time, and do what you can to be above board all the time. This sometimes means taking the harder path, yes - welcome to small business ownership.
Focus Only on Social Media
Speaking of Instagram, a lot of new businesses focus on social media growth only. Remember that your social media following isn’t actually yours - Mark Z. could take that away from you tomorrow, and then where would your business be? Grow your business in multiple ways, use different marketing channels, and include social media as only part of a larger strategy.
Say “Yes” to Every Job
You think all business is good business, but I’m here to tell you that isn’t true! Everyone takes a few crappy jobs while they’re figuring things out, but every job you say yes to means you’re saying no to something else. Take jobs that bring you closer to at least one of your goals - even if that goal is just to put food on the table this month.
Work Only for Clients
I have a lot of new business ladies ask me how to create new work when their paying clients aren’t quite “ideal” yet. The answer is simple - just make it! Someone doesn’t have to be paying you for you to create beautiful work. The more you put out there of your “ideal” work, the more people will ask you to create work like that.
Make Up Pricing
It’s simple - you should always have a solid reason behind your pricing. None of this “it’s what so and so charges” or “I asked a facebook group” - if you don’t know why you’re charging what you’re charging, then you likely aren’t covering the costs that you need to. You may decide to charge less if you’re just starting out - I’m not a fan of this method, actually - but either way, at least have that solid reasoning and understand what area you’re cutting that cost from (hint: it should be your hourly rate, not any material costs). Check out our YouTube video on 2 Common Pricing Strategies for Creatives!
Copy Other People
Well, this should be looped into being shady, but it happens a lot so I made it its own point. Clients often send me other artists’ work as examples, but as much as humanly possible, I try to avoid copying another creative’s work. Not only because it’s illegal, but also because I can’t make something as well as the original person did, so it’s always always always going to turn out worse than something I make on my own.
Provide too Many Options
I used to ask clients what they wanted from me wayyyy too much, and it’s not a smart move. First of all, it’s confusing. The client is hiring you because they don’t know what they want. They don’t know what’s possible, and they don’t know what’s going to turn out best. So asking them for opinions ends up with weird, out of sync expectations on both sides. Provide 1-3 simple options for them, and they (and you) will be much happier.
Let Clients Have All the Say
And lastly, you should not let clients have all the say. It seems counterintuitive, but clients feel like they get a much better experience when you set boundaries with them from the beginning. That way they know what to expect, and they’re taking advantage of the unique skills you have to bring to their project - not trying to dictate the relationship.
So let me know what you think of these 9 Things you shouldn’t do when starting your business - I can’t wait to hear some of the mistakes you’ve made in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to provide some guidance and feedback. If you’re just starting out, of course we have some business resources for you - especially our First 30 Days Workbook which takes you through building a foundation for a long-lasting, goal-oriented business including topics like taxes, contracts, branding, and handling mistakes.
It’s the middle of summer, so what better time than to remember a cool, blue, ice-filled wedding inspiration shoot? Kalli from Kallidoscope Photography reached out to me via a Facebook group, and I had no idea I was about to connect with one of my favorite people in the industry! She mentioned that she was planning a styled shoot at the Ice Castles in Wisconsin, and I couldn’t resist being a part of it.Read More
People are ALWAYS asking me what printer I use - I know that if I post anything about printing, I’ll get about 45 messages with questions about it. The truth is, like with a lot of things we talk about, the tool isn’t the key to doing this right. Knowing which printer I use (it’s this one, by the way!) isn’t going to make you create good stationery. It’s not that it’s not a good printer - it totally is - but it’s that printing is a skill and an art form in itself. I actually try to avoid printing in-house whenever I can, and I’ll tell you why!Read More
Alright, m’ladies and m’lords, Sers and Maesters, wildlings and Stone Men, let’s all gather round for some fun musings on our favorite Westerosi for tonight’s Game of Thrones series finale! We’ve put together some invitation inspiration for some of our favorite characters on the show, so please let us know which one is your favorite by sharing and commenting below. I promise that Red Weddings only refer to color schemes, and no one will be letting Arya bake any of the cakes…..(too soon?!).
Official Spoiler Alert happening all the way up to Season 8 Episode 4 (the one after the battle of Winterfell) - do not click Read More if you don’t want spoilers!!!Read More
A few months ago, I went on a little Instagram rant about using stock art in your invitation designs. Turns out, a lot of you had questions or thoughts on the topic, so I wanted to delve into this a little further. There’s a whole section on this in our Invitation Design Guide, of course, but here are the basics of why I absolutely LOVE stock art, and am not ashamed to admit it!Read More
Peace out Girl Scout
Thank u, next
Okay okay, all joking aside, “you’re too expensive” is the WORST thing to hear.
It sucks for a few reasons:Read More
There are so many upsides to there being more creatives out there, because in general, the creative world is still a little backwards. As artists, we’re often not taken seriously, and our value is only apparent if we’re famous or dead, it seems, so the more successful creative businesses there are, the better we do as a whole. However, there is a downside to welcoming new businesses - and that’s competition.
Competition sounds scary to a lot of people - and I hear this often in my Coaching Sessions. “There’s so much competition,” “They always go with someone cheaper,” “This other photographer keeps stealing my clients”, but the truth is that competition can be so much more than that!Read More
Where to even start with this one? I truly feel like part of the family with Zibby + JT, after working with them for over two years now. This was my first invitation suite for an international destination wedding, and it was in Tuscany, which is my home abroad. I lived in Florence for several months and haven’t gotten the olive oil out of my system since, so painting a mini Duomo and Ponte Vecchio for this couple was one of my favorite moments of Design by Laney. More Italian weddings, per favore!Read More
Seating charts, escort cards, place cards, all the different terminology can get really confusing! Sometimes it feels like you’d be better off just doing an open seating wedding - what can go wrong, right? We’re all family here! Well…in fact, a lot of things can go wrong! The politics of wedding seating have become the typical gag in movies and sitcoms everywhere, but for good reason - those relationships are always complicated. Having a seating chart can help you navigate the icy waters between Aunt Cindy and Cousin John, and well…..it can help you in a lot of other ways too….Read More
It’s about time we blogged this particular wedding from 2017! It’s absolutely one of our favorites we ever worked on, and this suite still blows my mind sometimes - it’s hard to believe I was lucky enough to create something so fun and unique!Read More
Creating your first website is one of the most daunting tasks for new business owners, and I was no exception. I had it on my to-do list for months before I even started to work on it. Once I decided to leave my “day job” and take Design by Laney full time, I knew that the website was the first big task to conquer, so I finally got to work! No matter how annoying and difficult the website process can be, the only part I regret is not starting it sooner - so if you’re hesitating for any reason whatsoever, let me be the one to tell you to stop hesitating, and just do it!Read More
Another real wedding to share today, and this one has a special place in my heart! Desiree and Michael just exude kindness and positivity in every single interaction I have with them - both of them would separately wish me well if I posted about being sick on Instagram, for instance (yep, even the groom!!!). You just know two beautiful souls like that are in for a wonderful, happy marriage together! The fact that it also happened to be a Pinterest dream is just an added bonus! All of these phenomenal photos are courtesy of the amazing Jenna Joseph (and you can read more of D + M's love story on her blog).Read More
YAY - you're planning a wedding! Are you stressed already just thinking about it? Don't be - this can be a fun process if you do it the right way, and we are here to help with all of those tough parts. We always recommend creating your guest list as the first step, because this helps everything else fall into place. You can't really make any decisions on venue, date, or even budget until you know how many guests to expect at your wedding, but the guest list can prove to be one of the trickiest parts (especially once you get the moms involved). We've compiled some tips and tricks to help make this part of the process a little easier, so you can move on to the fun parts!Read More